M-a-d-r-i-d, six letters that give name to a city that is engraved in the heart. From the narrow streets of the Malasaña or La Latina district to the most emblematic monuments of the Spanish capital. It is not a coincidence that artists like Velázquez fell in love with her, that she was the muse of poets like Miguel Hernández and Pablo Neruda or that Joaquín Sabina dedicated her “Pongamos que hablo de Madrid” (Let’s say I’m talking about Madrid). It’s one of those cities where you can get lost and live millions of stories with the people who give it life.
The capital is structured around the kilometer 0 located in the representative Puerta del Sol. Around this square there are different neighbourhoods where you can enjoy art, gastronomy, history or simply walk around and get lost. Today we bring you a small guide with which you can explore the coolest places in Madrid.
The most curious will be able to appreciate the urban art that decorates its streets and those who like improvised plans, this is a perfect place for it. The Plaza del Dos de Mayo is its emblem. Here, the battles of the Spanish uprising during the War of Independence were experienced. This is the neighbourhood where “La Movida Madrileña” (a cultural movement) was born and where the most iconic bars of the eighties movement are located, such as El Palentino in the famous Calle Pez or El Pentagrama (The Penta) in Calle de la Palma.
In addition, it hides places like the restaurant Ojalá (C/San Andrés, 1) that welcomes with a very pleasant terrace in which to take the appetizer. Although the jewel in the crown is what it hides inside: a very original space that recreates a beach and where you can enjoy cocktails, brunch or eat some tacos.
O Kikekeller (C/Corredera Baja de San Pablo, 17), a minimalist and multifaceted furniture and interior design studio where projects are made to order, events are held and it becomes a bar on weekends. They also hold temporary exhibitions in order to give visibility to local artists.
It is another of the most punishing neighborhoods in Madrid. The “tapas” and the “Rastro” are two of the main elements that make this neighborhood an icon of the city. This is an area where buying second-hand furniture will be a real experience that invites you to explore shops and unique objects that keep stories behind, exciting.
Moreover, it is a neighbourhood that boasts the versatility that identifies it, ideal for going out for a beer, letting yourself be carried away by live music and admiring the rooftops that make up the neighbourhood. Something offered by The Hat (C/ Imperial, 9), a hostel with a modern air that is located under a roof that can be reached by elevator and where you can enjoy the Madrid sunset accompanied by tapas and a glass of wine.
On the other hand, an attractive place for music and book lovers is Molar Discos & Libros (C/de la Ruda, 19), a shop where vinyls, books and comics coexist. It sells special editions and hard-to-find records by national and international artists. It is also a space that hosts book presentations, storytelling and exhibitions.
The area is linked to Malasaña. During the days from the 1st to the 5th of July it becomes the most colorful neighborhood of the city on the occasion of the celebration of the Gay Pride although during the whole year it is known to represent diversity. In its streets you can find the trendiest establishments in the city where it is easy to find different and original products.
And just like those mentioned above, it is an essential place to live gourmet experiences in bars such as Skull St. (C/Barquillo, 8), an industrial establishment that offers new daily menus every week.
Another proposal is the store characterized by craftsmanship as an identifying element and that bets on quality and things done on a slow fire is Casa González & González (C/ Pelayo, 68) They bet on functional items that enjoy a charming characteristic of the objects of a lifetime.
A little further away from the heart of the capital is Legazpi, a renovated, multicultural neighbourhood. Where we can visit El Matadero (Plaza de Legazpi, 8), a former cattle market that has been converted into a centre for contemporary creation, with multidisciplinary programmes and exhibitions of all kinds.
In addition, free live music sessions are organised in the summer where artists from different musical fields perform. It also has La Cantina del Matadero, a place that maintains the industrial aesthetics of the early 20th century of the buildings that make it up and which houses a film library, a cafeteria area and a very welcoming terrace. The menu features organic, home-style cooking with a gourmet air.
It is the most famous street in the city, full of history and architecture, and it brings together hotels, shops, theatres, cinemas and restaurants that everyone knows.
However, there is a rooftop terrace with privileged views of the city called Sky 44 (C/ Gran Vía, 44). It is a hidden establishment on the tenth floor of a gateway and there you can enjoy cocktails, breakfast or lunch while contemplating the center of Madrid from a different perspective.
The Cibeles, the Puerta de Alcalá, the Plaza Mayor, Atocha, the Reina Sofía Museum, the Plaza de Neptuno, the Prado Museum or the Plaza de España are all icons of a wonderful city where it is easy to fall under the spell. Although it also hides small treasures that complete the charm of that. And if you look up the sky of this city, you will understand why the people of Madrid say so proudly: “From Madrid, to heaven”.